John Malone's Liberty Global Inc. (LBTYA:US), the largest owner of cable-television systems outside the U.S., reported a wider 2005 loss because of higher costs. The company plans a $250 million stock buyback.
The net loss was $80.1 million from a year-earlier shortfall of $21.5 million, Englewood, Colorado-based Liberty Global said today. Sales rose to $5.15 billion in 2005 from $2.53 billion the previous year.
Liberty Global Chief Executive Officer Mike Fries, 43, is adding telephone and cable television customers by acquiring companies in Australia, Switzerland and Japan. The company, which has customers in Europe, Japan and Chile, will have $6.8 billion in revenue this year, Fries said in a telephone interview.
``We're adding new customers and we're getting some benefit from the acquisition we made in 2005,'' Fries said. ``The phone product is stronger than we expected it to be.''
Liberty Global, spun off from Malone's Liberty Media Corp. in 2004, has 1.9 million telephone subscribers, 2.6 million high- speed Internet subscribers and 10.7 cable-TV subscribers.
Shares of Liberty Global rose 10 cents to $19.73 at 4 p.m. in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. They have declined 12 percent this year. Of the eight analysts who cover Liberty Global, six have a buy rating, while two recommend holding the stock.
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